Quad ministers call for lasting peace in Ukraine, say nuclear weapon use ‘inadmissible’



The Foreign Ministers of Quad member nations who met in New Delhi on Friday, March 3, called for lasting peace in Ukraine and said without naming Russia that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is “inadmissible”.

The Ukraine conflict was discussed during the Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting which was attended by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that is maintained by talks between member countries.

In a statement issued by the US Department of State after the G20 summit, Blinken said: “I think the very fact of our presence and engagement day-in, day-out, including through the Quad and the work that we’re doing not only during the meetings that we have but in between, is powerful evidence of the fact that, as you might say, we can run and chew gum at the same time. And for us, the future is so much in the Indo-Pacific.  Our engagement throughout the region, both through the Quad and in other ways, is as comprehensive and as deep as any time I can remember.”

“What we talked about yesterday in the course of the G20 was also illustrative of this, because even as we’re rightly focused on what is happening in Ukraine as a result of the Russian aggression, not just because it matters to Ukrainians and to Ukraine and to Europe, but because it matters to the entire world. The principles that underlie the entire international system that is necessary for trying to keep the peace and the stability that grew out of two world wars are being challenged, being aggressed along with Ukraine. And part of the reason that countries way beyond Europe are also so focused on this and are working to support Ukraine and deal with the challenge is because they know it could have an effect here.  If we allow with impunity Russia to do what it’s doing in Ukraine, then that’s a message to would-be aggressors everywhere that they may be able to get away with it too,” Blinken added.

“But having said that, you saw yesterday and you see today in this meeting of the Quad an equally intense focus on the issues that are having an impact on the lives of all of our fellow citizens where the Quad is a force, I believe, for good, positive, affirmative action.  What’s in so many ways important about it is this: first, we start with the proposition that virtually none of the challenges that our people are facing and that people around the world are facing can be effectively dealt with by any one country acting alone, whether it’s the United States, whether it’s India, whether it’s Japan, whether it’s Australia,” he added. “And given that basic premise, it makes sense for us to start by finding like-minded groups of countries with which to tackle these challenges.  And the great power of the Quad is you have four like-minded countries united in their basic values, united in their basic interests, bringing different strengths, different experiences, and different comparative weights to tackling these problems.  And not only tackling for ourselves but actually creating a global common good, particularly for other countries in the Indo-Pacific.”

Blinken said that what the Quad nations have accomplished during the last couple of years is translated into very practical projects. “We’re creating for other countries in the region a positive choice and a positive partner. We’re doing that – obviously we did this on vaccines under – during COVID. We’ve been doing it on infrastructure for some time. We are now engaged very much in working together to help countries deal with humanitarian situations and disasters.”

He also informed that the four countries are working on things like maritime domain awareness: giving countries the capacity, the tools, to have a full picture of everything that’s happening in their maritime space, which is affecting the lives of many of their citizens; for example, illegal fishing.  “I think not only are we not distracted; on the contrary, we’re more deeply engaged than ever, and the Quad is one of the most critical vehicles for that engagement.”

The Quad ministers said in a joint statement issued after the meeting: “We continued to discuss our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the immense human suffering it is causing and concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. We underscored the need for comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter,”

The Quad Foreign Ministers further emphasized that the “rules-based international order must respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, transparency and peaceful resolution of disputes”. The Quad also opposed any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in South and East China seas.

“Our meeting today reaffirms the Quad’s steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient. We strongly support the principles of freedom, rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force, and freedom of navigation and overflight, and oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, all of which are essential to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” the statement noted.

The ministers underlined that the rules-based international order is anchored in international law, including the UN Charter, and the principles of sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all states.

“We are committed to cooperating to address attempts to unilaterally subvert the UN and international system, in consultation with our partners and through multilateral and international platforms. We reiterate our unwavering support for the UN Charter, including its three pillars, and our steadfast commitment to strengthening the UN and international system through a comprehensive reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent seats of the UN Security Council,” the statement said.

“In this regard, we commit to active and constructive engagement in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) process on Security Council Reforms with an overall objective of making the UN Security Council more effective, representative, and credible,” the Quad ministers noted.



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